Just enough – A moment to remember

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt May 26, 2014
A little girl places a rose on the veterans memorial at the Decatur cemetery as part of a short Memorial Day ceremony, held May 26. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

A little girl places a rose on the veterans memorial at the Decatur cemetery as part of a short Memorial Day ceremony, held May 26. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

The Memorial Day ceremony at Decatur Cemetery wasn’t fancy, but it was enough.

Chris Billingsley, a retired Decatur High School social studies teacher, stood close to an umbrella as rain plopped on the edges of his yellow legal pad.

Decatur resident Deanne Thomas held the umbrella for him. A handful of people gathered to hear Billingsley speak.

“There are 52 men who are memorialized in the Decatur cemetery and this is the unbroken line of patriots who have dared to die that freedom might live and grow and increase and today we honor them,” Billingsley said. “And we also remember their families, because for them, Memorial Day is every day of the year.”

With each name, there was a clang on a triangle held by another bystander. When Billingsley finished he and a little girl who had joined the group placed two roses on the veterans memorial at the cemetery: one for those who died serving their country who are buried at the cemetery, and one for their families.

2014-05-26 16.05.42

Deanne Thomas holds an umbrella while Chris Billingsley reads the names of men memorialized at the Decatur Cemetery as as part of a Memorial Day ceremony. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Chris Billingsley hands a rose to a little girl so she can place it on the veterans memorial at the Decatur Cemetery. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Chris Billingsley hands a rose to a little girl so she can place it on the veterans memorial at the Decatur Cemetery. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Another bystander played  "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Decatur Cemetery. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

Hank Frantz played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes during the Memorial Day ceremony at the Decatur Cemetery. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt

 

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of Decaturish.com. https://www.linkedin.com/in/danwhisenhunt

View all posts by Dan Whisenhunt

  • Diane

    The bagpiper is Hank Frantz.

  • Chris Billingsley

    Thanks Dan and I would like to ask all the read the entire post. I would like to acknowledge the folowing for helping to make the City of Decatur 2014 Memorial Day/Weekend At The Cemetery possible: City Manager Peggy Merriss, the entire Cemetery staff who worked hard to prepare the grounds, Henry and Fran Frantz for performing “Amazing Grace” in the rain on Memorial Day, Dave and Tony at InTown Hardware for the flags and for the flowers, the manager and staff at Big Tex Cantina, Eric and Alex at Mid City Management, Robin Moore Accounting Services (robinaccounting@bellsouth.net), H&H Remodeling Services (arosales903@gmail.com), Cathie Herman Lighting Designer (cathieherman@bellsouth.net), Larry Herrick Electrical Contractors (404-8615277), Philcool Heating and Air (Philcoolheat@gmail.com) and all the volunteers, especially the kids who helped place and pick up flags and flowers.

    To those of you who wonder if what you do ever means anything, please read on:
    “May 27, 2014
    Dear Chris,
    Thank you for organizing the flags and flowers at the killed in action graves at Decatur cemetery. I learned of this when I arrived at the cemetery yesterday afternoon to place flowers at the Laseter family plot, and I saw the flag and flower for my uncle John S. Laseter who died in France in World War II. I thought to myself, “How nice, I wonder who did this?” Then I looked around and saw other flags and flowers and figured out it was for those killed in action. I emailed my friend Jack Kittle to ask if he knew about this, and he sent me some web links about what you did.

    John Laseter (called Jack) was killed by a sniper a few weeks after he got to France. He was the middle of three brothers, who were all overseas for World War II. The oldest, Brand Laseter, died a year ago at 95, and the youngest, my father Clark Laseter, died in January at 89 (See below).

    I am 60 years old and grew up… My son just graduated from college. I grew up spending time at the cemetery with my parents, and of course still go there.

    The parents, brothers, and sisters of those you honor are largely gone now, but the children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews are still around, and we remember our relatives who gave their lives.

    It meant a lot to me to come upon the flower and flag yesterday afternoon.

    Thank you again,
    Joe
    Joe Laseter”

    I want to add that because of Decatur High School principal Lauri McKain, Joe’s father Clark Laseter, received his diploma last year at graduation, something he could not get in 1942 because he was called into service. Later a Georgia Tech grad, Clark Laseter was the first to walk across the stage last year was very proud to finally receive his DHS diploma.
    This is what the City of Decatur is all about.

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